Mostly Martha



German film about finding family.
  • Review Date: September 8, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 106 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

One scene of Martha and her neice slapping each other.

Not applicable

Strong language (in German) with subtitles.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film deals honestly with a young child who loses her only parent. It is handled carefully, but the emotional impact is considerable. There is one very angry fight between Martha and her niece, but nothing too far outside the realm of normal family fights. There is a smattering of strong language.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

This film, made in Germany, tells the story of Martha (Martina Gedeci), a brilliant chef who relates better to food than to people. She is so obsessed with food that it's all she talks about with her therapist. But when her sister is killed in a car accident, she must take care of her 8 year old niece, Lina (Maxime Foerste). Their struggle to adjust to each other, to come to terms with their grief, and to learn to make a new life together is funny, moving and unusual. Food plays a central role in the film. It is Martha's only real connection to the world, though that starts to change when Mario (Sergio Castellitto), also a very talented chef, comes to work at her restaurant.

Is it any good?


The film has a nearly perfect balance of comedy and drama, is beautifully acted and directed, and very satisfying. Gedeci is particularly good as a woman who is trying to break out of the restrictions she's placed on herself – we see her emotions play across her face with complete believability.

Young children may not enjoy this movie – it's in German with English subtitles, and deals largely with adult themes. But older children will enjoy it, and it might even awaken a desire to cook wonderful gourmet food. Unlike many American films it is subtle and sophisticated, making its points without broad comedy or clichéd speeches to drive the message home. Everything about it feels authentic and natural, and viewers will feel that they've met real people, not just movie characters.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how people become a family. What made the difference for Martha and Lina? Why was Martha more involved with cooking than with people? And how did Mario start to change that for her? There is also ample material for talking about food, how it can be more than just nourishment, and how obsessed people can become with it.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 2, 2001
DVD release date:January 12, 2002
Cast:Martina Gedeck, Maxime Foerste, Sergio Castellitto
Director:Sandra Nettelbeck
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:106 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:strong language and intense situations

This review of Mostly Martha was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Fabulous French fairy tale and romance for teens and up.
  • Cute rat tale has some peril and potentially scary moments.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide